Arrival of drilling rig for new carriers delayed

Deep Diver rig is delayed
Deep Diver rig is delayed

Portsmouth MP enlists in armed forces scheme

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THE arrival of a 100ft drilling rig to prepare Portsmouth Harbour for the navy’s new aircraft carriers has been put back to next week.

The 850-tonne vessel called Deep Diver was due to start drilling bore holes in the harbour yesterday.

But it will now arrive next Wednesday after its owner Fugro Seacore decided to make some last-minute alterations and maintenance to prepare the rig for job.

The rig will be brightly lit and at work 24 hours a day every weekday for six weeks to drill 27 100ft bore holes in the harbour.

Samples of the mud will be taken away ahead of dredging work in 2014 to make the harbour passage wider and deeper to accommodate the navy’s new carriers.

The work has to be completed before the first of the two supercarriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth – arrives in Porsmouth in 2016.

Captain Iain Greenlees, who is in charge of the dredging project, said: ‘We expect to be moving around 3.5m tonnes of the seabed in 2014-15.

‘It is important that we understand its structure to ensure any material that can be reused or contains contaminants for separate disposal is localised.’

The rig will begin its drilling work opposite Clarence Pier and letters have been sent to 50 Spice Island residents to warn them of the work.

The MoD said the rig is especially designed for use near built-up areas and has a noise suppression system to limit disturbance.